Healthy Community Is Wealthy Community
â€œWeâ€™re all vegetarian and vegan, and have 30 plus different options,â€ Simmons says.
Restaurant Review: Uptown Juice Bar (Vegetarian)
Owner: Davie Simmons
Year of Establishment: 1992
Location: 14 East 125th Street (Madison Ave/5th Ave)
Operation Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 8am-10pm, Thursday-Saturday close at 11pm
Contact: Twitter- @uptownjuicer or call (212) 987-2267.
Located in the heart of Harlem, Uptown Juice Bar has been around long before juice bars were even a trend.
It is also the only juice bar with a full vegetarian menu. This restaurant services up to 200 regulars per day and is sometimes graced with the presence of Danny Glover, State Senator Bill Perkins, and other notables.
One of America’s top influential people, Russell Simmons, is also a supporter of the juice bar. During a recent visit, the restaurant’s owner, Davie Simmons, was generous with his time.
Before I could start putting Simmons through the mill with all my questions, I had to respectfully congratulate him for being a successful Black business owner with almost 20 years of longevity. This is a great accomplishment because although Black-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of the US economy, the overall revenue for this sector fails to keep pace and ultimately leads to store closings, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's figures for 2002-2007.
Simmons admits that running a business isn’t easy. The biggest struggles Uptown Juice Bar tackles on a month-to-month basis are the cost of running a small business --specifically, with all the ever-changing policies-- while trying to maintain the same price even as the economy continues to limp.
“Being a vegetarian and realizing that there weren’t enough vegetarian restaurants out there," Simmons says, when asked about the inspiration for the business. "The opportunity was here in 125th street.”
Although the business is named Uptown Juice Bar, Simmons tells me that his business is most famous for its food. “We’re all vegetarian and vegan, and have 30 plus different options,” he says. Through his disciplined nutritional practices, Simmons is convinced that juicing can assist in unclogging one's arteries, strengthening the immune system, and increasing clarity and attentiveness.
“A healthy community is a wealthy community,” Simmons adds. The reverse is also undeniably true; as so-called inner-city neighborhoods are bombarded with processed, dyed, hormone-grown, and calorific goods and products. The permanence that Uptown Juice Bar has displayed within the Harlem community attests to the desire and need of quality goods in Black neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for an energy booster, Davie Simmons suggests the most common “Itol Jockey” for men and the “Wonder Woman” for the women; both are dowsed with Chinese herbs. Simmons is also affiliated with CafÈ Veggie, another vegetarian restaurant in Harlem, on 135th Street and 7th Ave.
What does Simmons love most about Harlem? The integration of different nationalities makes it a friendly community, he says.
Uptown Juice Bar’s Sanitary Inspection Grade is a perfect A. So the next time you’re marching, pacing, strolling or striding up and down 125th Street, check out this eatery now stamped with The Black Star News' approval-seal.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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